I'm worried about my youngest son – he's a recluse and never fits in

DEAR DEIDRE: WHEN my son turns 18 next month, he isn’t interested in having a big party or even a small get-together.

He is painfully shy and struggles to make eye contact.

I worry that breaking up with his mum when he was young, and then not getting him involved in enough clubs, has permanently damaged his confidence.

I am his 52-year-old dad and he is one of two boys. My elder son, 19, is out going and confident.

But the younger boy only has one friend who he never seems bothered about meeting. He recently applied for seven apprenticeships but none of them came to anything.

I don’t know why but I feel like he has never really fitted in. He says he’s happy, but he should be out partying at his age like his brother.

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DEIDRE SAYS: It could well be that your son is genuinely happy in his own company and simply isn’t social.

But it is also worth thinking about whether he could be depressed. He says he’s happy, but if you feel this isn’t the case you can find help at Young Minds, (youngminds.org.uk, parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544).

The other consideration is whether your son could be on the autistic spectrum.

Does he find it easy to understand the feelings of others? If not, it would be worth talking to the National Autistic Society, (autism.org.uk 0808 800 4104).

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